Stephanus: Devoted to Ministry


What does the model church member look like?

Did you ever consider this question? Why is it God has put you in the Church?
church memberIn his letters to the churches, the apostle Paul frequently selects certain individuals for specific mention. In 1 Corinthians 16 he mentions Stephanus and his family, and he holds them up as model church members.

Now I urge you, brothers —you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints—  be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence,  for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people. (1 Corinthians 16:15-18 ESV)

What he says about them is that they devoted themselves to the service of the saints. It was no sideline responsibility to them – it was their very reason for being. They gave themselves over to serving their brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no greater cause to which they could give themselves, and so they gave themselves to serve Christs church with unceasing vigor.
This, in brief, is what church life is to be all about.
We are to give ourselves, as our lifes work, to serving one another. What God expects of us is that we display our discipleship in exactly this way. As our Lord said, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you . . .By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
We must strive to honor Christ by being a serving, caring, helping, giving, and loving community of Christians utterly devoted to one another and the ministry God has given us.

Sometimes this will take the form of caring for the sick and/or hurting.

Sometimes it will take the form of giving to and helping those of our church who are in need.

Sometimes it will take the form of hospital visitation or a phone call with a simple word of encouragement.

Sometimes it will take the form of a plate of cookies just to manifest the love of Christ.

And sometimes it will take the form of stepping up to an official position of service in the church.

But always it should take the form of prayer and service for one another.

In short, what God has called us to is to look continually for more ways in which we can serve one another. There is no greater cause to which we could give ourselves. There is no greater privilege. And there is no greater reward than the reward of Christ to those who faithfully serve him.
And we do this with Christ himself as our model. He gave himself for us. He did not come to be served but to serve. As we serve one another we simply display that we are followers of Christ.

~ Fred

Fred Zaspel
Pastor Zaspel holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently a pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He is the author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2010) and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Crossway, 2012). In addition Fred is the editor of Books At A Glance.
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